How to Write SEO-ready articles
Learning how to write SEO-ready articles can be challenging. At one side your aim as a content creator is to provide meaningful and well-crafted content. You need to be creative and informative. This makes you want to provide the best quality of work out there. On the other hand, the SEO-mindset you have thanks to all those years of training is bugging you. A small voice inside your head says that you need all to check all the bells and whistles of your SEO analyzer.
In this dilemma, you ask yourself,
How do I write articles that are both SEO-friendly and are informative and creative?
Part 1: Research
When writing articles for SEO, there are two phases in research that you need to undergo. These are very important steps in order to provide the best ouptut your readers and the search engines would like.
Knowing what keywords to rank before even writing your article is an essential task. It is much easier to find the keywords and then write the article than write the article and then find if keywords are viable.
Now we won’t delve into much details about keyword research because that deserves an article for itself but here are a few things you have to keep in mind as a content creator:
- Long Tail vs Short Tail keywords – Short tail keywords are keywords that are…well… short. They are usually more general topics and surely will have higher compeition and search volume. As a content writer, you are more ecouraged to write about long tail keywords are they easier to rank and are more specific.
Example: “iphone case” (Short tail), “iphone cases diy” (long tail)
2.Search Volume – search volume often tells you an estimate of how much traffic you are going to get if you rank first in the search engines. This number tells you how many users are searching for a specific keyword.
3. Competition – this speaks for itself. Competition tells you how tight or saturated the keyword is. Generally you woud want to write for articles that are low in compeition.
Now let us go back to our previous example keywords. If we run them through the Google Keyword Planner tool we will see and confirm that “iphone cases” is a heavily contested keyword even if it has 100K-1M monthly searches. This means that “iphone cases” is much more difficult to rank.
On the other hand, we have “diy iphone case” which only has 1,000 to 10,000 searches per month but is low on competition.
So in theory, ranking for the longer keyword is easier than the shorter one. This means that we rank faster using the long-tail keyword and we get the clicks to our website faster.
Now that you know what keyword to use, you can move on to thinking how you position the article to your audience. This is important as positioning content properly can change how users interact with your website.
Generally, there are important questions that needs asking:
- Who is your audience? Before writing your article, you first need to understand who your audience is. One good way of determining your audience is through persona research which can be done along with your marketing and business analyst teams. Doing a persona research will allow you to paint a picture of what your average visitor will be.
- In what stage is he in? Marketers often divide their audience as to what stage are they in when it comes to the conversion funnel. Hubspot illustrates a more standardized funnel here:
Now, try to think of your average user, and ask yourself, what part of the process is he in right now?
If he is in the attraction stage, then you must position your content to strangers who know nothing about your website and the products it offers. He also doesn’t want you shoving your product to them. At this stage, you would want them to be aware that they are facing a problem that you know how to solve.
To attract strangers and convert them into visitors, you need to answer their questions. This means that you would have to provide some knowledge to them. Your goal here is to establish a connection, and not sell.
Generally, all blog posts on your company page should have this goal. Since you would want to gain visitors.
Remember to put call-to-actions that would make them come back and learn more from your content. Users commonly read a lot of things about something before they make their purchase so the more you answer their questions, the more it is likely for them to transform and move on to the second stage.
The second stage is when you are converting those visitors to leads. Remember that leads are not customers but potential customers. This means that you would still have to provide value to your content at this stage. This is when they are mulling over their decision so make sure to position your content with all the pertinent information they would need to make the purchase. You can write how much the costs will be, or what other customers have said about you.
If you are successful then you can make those leads into paying customers. At this point they are fully aware of what you offer, how you can offer it and for how much. But you shouldn’t stop creating content that would suit them. What happens next? What can you do to make it better? This is the stage where you can ask them for reviews and ratings.
The last part is when your customers become your promoters. Once they publish a review with your website, company name and other information, they become creators of content for you.
Part 2: Writing Your Article
After learning about what keywords to write, and who to write it for, it’s now time for you to actually start writing.
Now there are a lot of rules when it comes to writing high quality content. Things topical research, grammar, style come into play but I’m pretty sure you are already good at that so let’s skip to the SEO-writing side of things.
Here are a few things you need to consider:
Readability and Whitespace
Readability and Whitespace improves your overall user-experience which is one of the key factors search engines look at when ranking your website so make sure you put a lot of effort into these things.
To make your text more readable it is common practice to write average to short paragraphs. Writing a paragraph that spreads across the screen would turn readers away.
Also make sure to use bullet points or separate your articles into several subtopics. Notice how this article is divided into subtopics and further sub-subtopics. This helps your article to become more skimmable and scannable, because, let’s face it, no one ever finishes anything they read online anymore.
Lastly, bold the texts you deem are extremly important. This gets the attention of the reader thus improving the user experience in the article.
Keyword density is another factor you should consider when writing your article for SEO. Make sure you remember what we talked about in the Keyword Research section of this article and apply what you have learned there.
Remember to put your keyword on your title, URL, meta description and the first paragraph of your article. Now it is up to you how you will position the keywords but don’t let it be in your way. Google has become more lenient in following the keywords per se. The algorithms they use have become more and more smarter now. You could include snynoyms, or keywords of the same intent in your article’s body. Notice how I didn’t repeat the word “write SEO-ready articles” as much in this particular article.
When it comes to titling your article, remember that the Meta Title and the Article Title can be different as long as they have the same keywords. The Meta Title cannot exceed 60 characters so if in case you really can’t shrink the article title into less than 60 characters, you can always change the Meta Title but still retain the target keyword.
Of course, this is a requirement. Images provide more interaction and gives your reader visual breaks from the text. A long-paragraph is already as taxing to read as it is, but if you don’t include images in that article then it can go boring quick.
So what’s the policy on putting images on SEO-friendly articles?
It’s really simple. You just need to make sure your image is somehow related to your topic (No. You can’t put a cat photo in an article about bitcoin). You also need to use alt texts that contain your target keyword on your images.
There are two types of links you can use in an article: internal and external. Internal links are links that come from other articles within your website. So when writing an article be sure to look at your archives and link at least two of them in the current one you are writing.
Why is this important? Because internal linking increases the engagement of users or readers in your blog. It decreases the bounce rate, improves time spent on the website and many more.
Secondly are external links. These are links to other websites. I know this may sound pretty counterintuitive but adding links from outside sources is a good sign since it shows that you did your research.
So in summary you need to add:
- One link from external sources and have it open on a new tab
- At least two articles internally.
You should also use your target keyword and its closest linguistic relatives in the anchor text of the link.
Now that you found about all of these cool information about writing your SEO-ready article, it’s time to apply what you have learend. Hopefully, you start pushing those sweet content out into th world and hopefully, it brings you good traffic.